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SALT LAKE CITY — For six years, the SafeUT app has provided access to mental health resources across the state.
Now, administrators said they've updated the app to serve even more people.
The SafeUT app launched its new website with expanded resources on Friday.
SafeUT.org provides better support to students, parents, educators, National Guard, front-line workers and anyone facing a mental health crisis or concern.
We think our unique perspective with behavioral and mental health has allowed us to really connect with the community so that they feel they can trust and use confidentially.
–Denia-Marie Ollerton, SafeUT clinical supervisor
The app provides immediate, real-time, two-way communication with a licensed counselor at no cost, 24/7, 365 days a year.
2020 was a record-breaking year for users.
Licensed mental health counselors said they dispatched emergency responders to 648 individuals via the app last year. That was a 57 percent increase from the year before.
"With the intense burden that is on our law enforcement and a social justice movement, there has been a cry for change from society to really focus on mental health," said Denia-Marie Ollerton, a SafeUT clinical supervisor. "We think our unique perspective with behavioral and mental health has allowed us to really connect with the community so that they feel they can trust and use confidentially."
At Lehi High School, educators and counselors advocate with the SafeUT app.
"If you are a parent — your child is struggling and you don't know what to do — you can download the app and connect with a certified, trained counselor," said Caitlin Thomas, Lehi High's assistant drill coach.
Thomas spent Friday night prepping the athletes on her team for Lehi High School's football home opener.
"The SafeUT app is great because kids are always on their phones," Thomas said. "This app provides a place to go and a soft spot to land. I know it's helped many students at this school."
Thomas is currently pursuing her second master's degree in clinical mental health counseling. Her first master's degree is in communications.
"Kids will come to me and say, 'What can I do?' I tell them, 'There's a tool — to download this app and they can connect with people who are professionals,'" said Thomas. "It brings me peace knowing it exists. I love that the state of Utah has invested its efforts into this tool."
The licensed therapists fielding calls and engaging in two-way conversations are not volunteers; they all have careers in mental and emotional health.
"It's making a difference. It's keeping kids afloat. It's keeping people alive, and I think that's powerful," said Thomas.
There is a section of the app directed to parents so they can learn how to support their child.
Downloaded conversation starters and other tips to help talk to children about mental health are available.
The updated website also supports SafeUT Frontline and SafeUTNG (National Guard), which launched in 2020.
Suicide Prevention Resources
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.
- Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
- National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text "HOME" to 741-741
- Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
- University Of Utah Crisis Interventional Crisis Line: 801-587-300
- NAMI Utah: namiut.org
- County Crisis Lines: https://www.namiut.org/families-caregivers/suicide-prevention
- Utah Chapter-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsputah.com
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org